What is eating my green bean leaves?: How to Eliminate Insect Pests

What is eating my green bean leaves? The most common pests leaving holes and skeletonized leaves on your green beans are leafhoppers and the Mexican bean beetles.

They will demolish all your green bean plants if you do not take care of them.

Then again, rabbits are known to enjoy plump beans and their freshest leaves.

What is eating my green bean leaves?: Insects that Like to Eat Green Bean Plants

What is eating my green bean leaves?

  • Leafhoppers belong to the Cicadellidae family. And as their name implies, they are good jumpers. They hop from one plant to another to suck their sugar-rich sap. And like aphids, they make honeydew that ants love. So keep an eye for ants running up and down your green bean plants because they are probably visiting their leafhopper farms.
  • Leafminers eat the inner layer of the green bean leaves, creating visible serpentine tunnels on every infested leaf. Of course, infestation causes signs of wilt and eventually death if left alone. Leafminer populations can increase rapidly, leading to more severe foliar damage in other plants. So, they require immediate attention and prompt containment actions.
  • Mexican bean beetles (Epilachna varivestis) look like ladybugs but are not as helpful. For clarity, adults are orange with black spots on their back, so they are easily identifiable. Their larvae are yellow, with spines sticking out of them. And more importantly, these pests feed on the green bean leaves at all stages during their lifetime. So, they represent the most dangerous pest for a young bean plant needing good photosynthesis to grow.
  • Spider mites are arachnids that colonize green bean plants causing bleached leaves to appear. In brief, these pests use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to such the sap inside the leaves. Yellow spots pop on the infested leaf first then you see their webs. At that point, the infestation is severe and may preclude your green beans from ever reaching maturity.

How to Treat Green Bean Plants For Insects

What is eating my green bean leaves?


Bifenthrin-based insecticides kill aphids, bean leaf beetles, potato beetles, leafhoppers, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, and whiteflies. In detail, they leave a long-lasting residual that keeps insects away for up to 90 days. They are not pet-safe. And when incorrectly used, they lead to toxic effects on humans. So, follow the instruction and always use your protective gear when handling such products.

Non-calcined diatomaceous earth is a somewhat effective insecticide used in organic farming.

In brief, it is dust you can sprinkle on your green bean plants that also add calcium to your soil and kills most insects by dehydrating them. The downside is that you need to apply it every week, and the dust cloud can irritate your lungs and eyes. So, follow the instructions carefully.

The San Diego strain of Bacillus thuringiensis—BT for short—is a soil bacterium that helps you control several insects, including the Mexican bean beetle. This bacterium creates crystals known as Cry toxins that only target insect pests and do not harm pollinators like bees and other beneficial species like ladybugs.

Natural Remedies

A time-consuming yet effective method is to look for and crush the insects’ eggs on the underside of your green bean leaves. As an option, take a bucket of soapy water to your garden and use it to wash the leaves.

You can also grab a hose, use either the flat or the cone setting, and blast off the aphids and other pests.

All you have to do with soft-bodied insects is get them far away from their target plant. And in this case, water jets can suffice. Again, if you want to suffocate them, add some liquid Castile soap.

Animals that Like to Eat Green Bean Plants

What is eating my green bean leaves?

  • Chipmunks like to chew on tender green bean leaves and go over most fences with ease. Usually, they look for the green beans but will munch on the leaves if they are not ready yet. They also seem not to bother the larger green bean plants, though.
  • Rabbits. They would like to gobble green bean leaves all day long.
  • Rats and mice love to nib on the foliage of green bean seedlings. In general, they come out at night and are hard to control.

How to Stop Animals from Eating Green Bean Plants

Row covers with mesh netting underneath are the ideal protection against chipmunks and other critters searching for tasty seedlings. What is more, they work as insect protection and protect your younger plants from the hot sun. Make sure the netting is secured to the ground because chipmunks and rabbits will try to go below it once they find out about it.

The best solution for rabbit problems is to grow your green bean plants in raised garden beds with rabbit-proof fences around them.

You can enlist the local owl population to control rodents in your area by installing barn owl boxes. For clarity, owls can eliminate the rat problem, but you need to install each nestbox with its entry hole facing Each or South.

Of course, the best method to kill local rats and mice is the old mousetrap. It still works, and new models made this solution easier or more humane than other remedies like poison.

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